What we eat and how we eat it is changing and despite or maybe because of COVID-19, there will be more focus on food trends. It’s been evolving for decades because those within the food industry know that it’s critical to partake in short-term trends in order to stay successful. Those who fail to embrace the trends are the ones closing their doors to a successful future in these harsh times.
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Exploring the food trends will make it easier to know how to make adjustments. Embracing technology and even the latest ingredients can make a significant impact on your growth and your ability to move forward year after year. Especially during the Corona shut-downs it is important to understand how the food-business can continue and how a restaurant can deliver food and what customers and even governments are expecting.
Technology is Taking Over
McDonalds started it years ago by offering stations where people could place their orders instead of going to the cashier. Pizza places have been using apps to make it easier for people to customize their pizzas. Now, artificial intelligence is going to be showing up. Pricing may be adjusted in real-time to accommodate supply and demand fluctuations. Delivery apps will make it easier for people to get food from multiple restaurants at a time. Menu boards will even use face recognition software to recognize past customers and speed up the ordering process.
Delivery is changing, too, especially in COVID-19 times. Unmanned rovers are already being tested in Houston and through various European cities. This could lead to drones delivering pizza boxes, cups of coffee, and even donuts.
Reusable is the Way to Go
Climate change is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds. Farmers are trying to figure out how it will affect their crops, restaurants and food producers want to make a conscious effort, and consumers want to know that they are making a positive impact in the environment with the choices that they make.
Coffee shops are encouraging their customers to bring cups from home – and it’s not long before bars and wine tasting rooms start to do the same thing.
More edible (yes, edible) and biodegradable packaging will start to show up, too. Cups, forks, plates, and other items are made so that they don’t end up in the landfill where they’ll sit for centuries. According to Jenny Zegler, the associate director of food and drink research at Mintel says that the successful companies over the next 10 years are the ones that will fuel conscious consumption in the future.
Comfort Foods are Evolving
Chicken noodle soup is out and porridge is in. With more people worrying about the economy, the political landscape, and more, people want to drown out their stress in a big bowl of something. Jook is one option that includes soy sauce, rice, and even shiitake mushrooms. Another popular porridge is arroz caldo, which is chicken and rice, often served with a hard-boiled egg on top. Many restaurants are taking turns putting their own spin on these fun classics: these are food trends.
Classics are getting a twist, too. Macaroni and cheese, barbecue, and even mom’s meatloaf are now being featured at the hottest and most high-end restaurants because of using exciting and gourmet ingredients.
Plant-Based is a Term and Concept to Embrace
Plant-based items in the food industry have been on the market for years and years. However, now people feel as though they have been guilted into eating them. A lot of misinformation has led people to believe that if they don’t start eating plant-based foods on a daily basis that the planet will be dead in a decade. Regardless of whether people choose to eat plant-based or not, the options are more diverse than ever – and even Burger King has chosen to jump on board to offer a plant-based Whopper.
As for what the plant-based foods are being made of, even that’s getting creative by using cactus to make jerky, beans to make burgers, and pasta is being made from chickpeas.
The use of “plant-based” has essentially replaced the word “vegan” so that it’s trendier. As such, don’t be surprised to find many vegan items to suddenly promote themselves as plant-based even though they’ve always been plant-based.
Healthy is in the Eyes of the Beholder
There are plenty of restaurants and food producers that are getting creative in terms of healthy. Some are infusing CBD into their foods in order to create a new range of edibles. Others are adding butter to everything in order to satisfy those who have gone keto.
Additionally, flour is getting a facelift. Almond flour was so 2019. 2020 and beyond will create flour from such ingredients as watermelon seeds, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and green bananas.
Japan could be Trendsetter
There’s been an increase in Instagram photos that hail from Japan. More people are traveling to Japan as a destination and the Summer Olympics is set in Tokyo. This is causing more people to consider stepping outside of their comfort zone in order to explore such items as fish-shaped ice cream cones, soufflé pancakes, and countless other dishes that don’t sound anything like what we have in the western hemisphere.
The love for all things Japan goes far beyond sushi. Tempura is being used to deep fry more items. Miso soup is getting a facelift. And Ramen is showing up on more and more menus, too.
The Shock Factor
There are also producers and restaurants that want to go for the shock factor. If they can make people gasp at the idea of the food that they are launching, they have done their job. Ice cream is being produced with hidden vegetables. Churros are making a comeback with unique flavors. Ghee is being flavored. Mold is being incorporated into new dishes. And food is going to start being wrapped in bijao leaves.
Some of the shocking food will stay while others will be short-lived. Some people will order items solely for the Instagram moment.
Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re a farmer, a food producer, a manufacturer, a restaurant owner, or anyone else involved with food on one level or another, the trends affect you. Knowing which trends to incorporate into your strategic plan is critical to ensure that consumers see that you’re making an effort (and may distract them from nanofarming). Learn how to build your portfolio to plan for the future by contacting us at STRATECTA today.